International SOS each year publishes a map of the most dangerous countries to visit, based on their assessment of travel security and medical risk, including road safety. In this years analysis, Libya and Somalia are the most dangerous places. The safest places to go are Finland, Norway and Iceland. Much of Europe and North America is considered very safe, but a number of popular tourist destinations around the world bear medium to high risk! Find out more how you can stay safe on your travels!
International SOS assigns the risk ratings based on a broad list of criteria. The medical risk assessment includes data on risks from contagious diseases, environmental factors and road trauma and considers the available emergency, outpatient and inpatient medical services as well as availability of pharmaceutical supplies and potential language or cultural barriers.
Western Europe, the US, Canada and Australia are considered to have low risk, while parts of Central and South America as well as Eastern Europe are considered medium risk. Many developing countries are considered “variable” risk. For example, you’ll find modern hospitals and services in the big cities in Asia, but rural areas might be a very different story!
The travel security risk rating considers potential risk from political violence, terrorism or insurgency, as social unrest, ie sectarian or ethnic violence, as well as violent or petty crime. They also look at the availability and effectiveness of security and emergency services as well as the likelihood of natural disasters. Not surprisingly, war torn countries like Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq or Somalia are considered “extreme risk” and should be avoided. Specific regions of popular tourist destinations, like Mexico or the Philippines, are also identified, so you’ll have to look beyond the “country rating” to plan your trips!
If you enjoy road trips and plan to rent a car or motorcycle, you might want to check out the specific road safety map. Countries like the US earn a “medium” risk and popular tourist destinations like Thailand or Vietnam earn a “high risk” having been on the road in these countries – I’m not surprised. You might want to be careful before renting a motorcycle and diving into the crazy traffic maelstrom in these places – I’ve seen enough accidents to be extra careful!
This by no means should discourage you form traveling – quite the opposite. This information is a great tool and can help you to be well prepared for your destination – traveling smarter can help you traveling safer! I personally avoid conflict zones – there is very little reason to go to places that can’t offer the most basic safety to anybody, locals or visitors. For all other places, I recommend to know where you are going, be prepared and you are likely to remain safe and sound.
You can plan your own trips with the interactive travel risk map below and get destination specific information. Travel safely and have fun!